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Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can be used to index white matter integrity of the corticospinal tract (CST) after stroke; however, the psychometric properties of DTI‐based measures of white matter integrity are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine test–retest reliability as determined by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and calculate minimal detectable change (MDC) of DTI‐based measures of CST integrity using three different approaches: a Cerebral Peduncle approach, a Probabilistic Tract approach, and a Tract Template approach. Eighteen participants with chronic stroke underwent DTI on the same magnetic resonance imaging scanner 4 days apart. For the Cerebral Peduncle approach, a researcher hand drew masks at the cerebral peduncle. For the Probabilistic Tract approach, tractography was seeded in motor areas of the cortex to the cerebral peduncle. For the Tract Template approach, a standard CST template was transformed into native space. For all approaches, the researcher performing analyses was blind to participant number and day of data collection. All three approaches had good to excellent test–retest reliability for fractional anisotropy (FA; ICCs >0.786). Mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity were less reliable than FA. The ICC values were highest and MDC values were the smallest for the most automated approach (Tract Template), followed by the combined manual/automated approach (Probabilistic Tract) then the manual approach (Cerebral Peduncle). The results of this study may have implications for how DTI‐based measures of CST integrity are used to define impairment, predict outcomes, and interpret change after stroke.

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Lewis, A. F., Myers, M., Heiser, J., Kolar, M., Baird, J. F., & Stewart, J. C. (2020). Test–retest reliability and minimal detectable change of corticospinal tract integrity in chronic stroke. Human Brain Mapping.


© 2020 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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